Takeaway: COH ready to sacrifice margin? WMT price compare app beats AMZN at face value. TGT pricing facts.
COH - Coach to Discount Products at Stores in Break With Tradition
- "Coach Inc...will begin discounting purses at its North American full-price stores, breaking from tradition to combat sluggish sales and mounting competition."
- "Coach will offer goods on sale twice a year -- in June and January -- said Andrea Resnick, a company spokeswoman. New York-based Coach had been one of the few fashion and luxury industry companies that refused to discount goods in its domestic stores."
- “'As part of our brand transformation, we are evolving our North American promotional model to be more in keeping with other fashion, lifestyle and luxury brands,' Resnick said. The move is consistent with what Coach already does overseas."
Takeaway: COH finally showing that it may sacrifice margin for top line growth. The company needs to do something in order to drive traffic to its full-price stores. A discount strategy is probably the best alternative, even if that means margin dilution. Gross margins in the 70's is unsustainable for COH especially with KORS & RL in low 60's and high 50's.
WMT - @WalmartLabs’ Price Comparison Tech Will Soon Automatically Credit Walmart Shoppers For Competitor Discounts
- "Price comparison technology from retail giant Walmart’s R&D center, @WalmartLabs, will begin rolling out this summer on web and mobile, to show consumers competitors’ pricing and offer them eGift cards for the difference, if they could have saved more by shopping elsewhere."
- "In any event, a service called Savings Catcher which was previously available only in seven test markets during a pilot trial, is now expanding nationwide this summer, the retailer says. Savings Catcher will initially be available via the web, but will make its way to Walmart’s mobile application later this summer."
- "To use Savings Catcher, consumers will enter a number provided at the bottom of their receipt into the website, or soon the mobile app, along with the date of their shopping trip. The system then examines the items purchased and compares prices across major local retailers, including Aldi, Harris-Teeter, Target, Walgreens and HEB. If a lower price is spotted, Walmart customers receive an eGift Card for the difference."
Takeaway: The beauty of this price comparison technology is that it encourages shoppers to buy from WMT while assuring them that they are getting the best price. Whether or not it actually works remains to be seen, but it trumps AMZN's price compare app by a country mile because it takes choice out of the equation.
TGT - 16 Secrets For Shopping At Target That Will Blow Your Mind
- "The price tag will tell you what percentage the markdown is. The lower left shows the original price and the upper right hand corner shows the percentage off for the markdown."
- "If the price tag ends in $0.06 or $0.08, the item will be priced down again. As long as there is inventory in the store. It will probably remain on clearance for around two weeks."
- "If a price tag ends in $0.04, it is final clearance and won’t be marked down again."
Takeaway: We never thought we'd cite BuzzFeed as a source, but we found the points on pricing very interesting.
GPS - Gap Inc. Reports May Sales Results
- "Gap Inc. today reported that May net sales increased 4 percent compared with last year. Net sales for the four-week period ended May 31, 2014 were $1.27 billion compared with net sales of $1.22 billion for the four-week period ended June 1, 2013."
- "Gap Inc.’s comparable sales for May 2014 were up 1 percent versus a 7 percent increase last year. Comparable sales by global brand for May 2014 were as follows:
- Gap Global: negative 3 percent versus positive 8 percent last year
- Banana Republic Global: positive 3 percent versus flat last year
- Old Navy Global: positive 2 percent versus positive 9 percent last year"
VRA - Vera Bradley Products to be Sold at Macy's
- "Vera Bradley, Inc. today announced that its products will be sold at select Macy's locations. By mid-July, Macy's will offer a selection of Vera Bradley handbags, totes, and accessories in approximately 70 locations across the country."
- "'We are excited about our new relationship with Macy's,' noted Robert Wallstrom, Chief Executive Officer of Vera Bradley. 'Department stores are the number one destination for handbag purchasing, and Macy's will be a great place to showcase our products, especially as we launch our leather and faux leather collections. This important relationship will allow us to introduce Vera Bradley to new customers and broaden our geographic reach.'"
BKS - Barnes & Noble to Team With Samsung on Next Nook Tablet
- "The new devices will combine the Nook software with Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 4 hardware, creating full-service tablets that can access Barnes & Noble’s collection of more than 3 million books, magazines and newspapers, according to a statement today. The 7-inch model will debut in early August, followed by a 10-inch Galaxy Tab 4 model about two months later."
SHLD - Exclusive: Sears' Lampert met Ford's Mulally for restructuring advice
- "Sears Holdings Corp's controlling shareholder Eddie Lampert met with Ford Motor Co (F.N) CEO Alan Mulally earlier this year to seek advice on how to turn around the ailing retailer, two sources familiar with the matter said."
- "In the meeting, Lampert asked Mulally about how he had turned around Ford and built an effective management structure at the No. 2 U.S. automaker, the sources said. Sears spokesman Howard Riefs declined to comment. Ford spokeswoman Susan Krusel said Mulally, 68, has not decided what to do after leaving Ford.".
- "It would be a surprise if Mulally, who is seen as one of the most successful manufacturing executives in recent American history, considered joining Sears."
Client Talking Points
An (allegedly) big macro move yesterday (that didn’t actually occur) on the “big” ECB move. People thought the euro would go down, instead it went up. People thought bonds would go down, instead they went up. People thought gold would go down, instead it went up. If the euro holds our long-term tail line of support of $1.35 versus the dollar, you want to buy it. Long euros here, short the Dollar ahead of what we think is next downside catalyst for USD which is upcoming Fed meeting.
Simply put, this morning’s U.S. jobs report does not provide nearly enough economic cowbell. The jobs picture is not improving at an accelerating rate. Sorry. Bond yields have the story right. Yes – we reiterate being bullish on bonds following this morning’s lackluster report. There’s no support really to 2.41%.
We didn’t put out the signal yesterday to re-short the Russell 2000—yet. As you know, we have not been short the S&P 500 from a signal perspective, but if the RUT is up today, in light of the jobs report, we will likely be sending out a sell signal. On an overbought signal, coupled with the jobs number, it’s a relatively easy spot to sell it. No support for the Russell to 1108; after that, no support to 1098.
|FIXED INCOME||26%||INTL CURRENCIES||22%|
Top Long Ideas
Hologic is emerging from an extremely tough period which has left investors wary of further missteps. In our view, Hologic and its new management are set to show solid growth over the next several years. We have built two survey tools to track and forecast the two critical elements that will drive this acceleration. The first survey tool measures 3-D Mammography placements every month. Recently we have detected acceleration in month over month placements. When Hologic finally receives a reimbursement code from Medicare, placements will accelerate further, perhaps even sooner. With our survey, we'll see it real time. In addition to our mammography survey. We've been running a monthly survey of OB/GYNs asking them questions to help us forecast the rest of Hologic's businesses, some of which have been faced with significant headwinds. Based on our survey, we think those headwinds are fading. If the Affordable Care Act actually manages to reduce the number of uninsured, Hologic is one of the best positioned companies.
Construction activity remains cyclically depressed, but has likely begun the long process of recovery. A large multi-year rebound in construction should provide a tailwind to OC shares that the market appears to be underestimating. Both residential and nonresidential construction in the U.S. would need to roughly double to reach post-war demographic norms. As credit returns to the market and government funded construction begins to rebound, construction markets should make steady gains in coming years, quarterly weather aside, supporting OC’s revenue and capacity utilization.
Legg Mason reported its month ending asset-under-management for April at the beginning of the week with a very positive result in its fixed income segment. The firm cited “significant” bond inflows for the month which we calculated to be over $2.3 billion. To contextualize this inflow amount we note that the entire U.S. mutual fund industry had total bond fund inflows of just $8.4 billion in April according to the Investment Company Institute, which provides an indication of the strong win rate for Legg alone last month. We also point out on a forward looking basis that the emerging trends in the mutual fund marketplace are starting to favor fixed income which should translate into accelerating positive trends at leading bond fund managers. Fixed income inflow is outpacing equities thus far in the second quarter of 2014 for the first time in 9 months which reflects the emerging defensive nature of global markets which is a good environment for leading fixed income houses including Legg Mason.
Three for the Road
TWEET OF THE DAY
Probability of the US unemployment rate going 2% higher instead of lower (from here) = high @KeithMcCullough
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"Change your thinking, change your life." - Ernest Holmes
STAT OF THE DAY
The U.S. added 217,000 jobs in May, while the unemployment rate remains at 6.3%. (New York Times)
Tickers: HT, IHG.LN, HTZ
EVENTS TO WATCH
- Mon June 9: HTZ earnings
- Tues June 10: HLT lock-up expiration
- Tues June 10: Thurs June 12: Bally Systems User Conference
- Thurs June 12: Blackstone Investor Day 8:00 am
SJM - (Macau Business) SJM CEO Ambrose So forecasts Macau GGR will grow 10% YoY in 2014 to MOP400 billion (US$50.09 billion). So added that May's GGR growth of only 9.3% 'wasnt bad.'
Takeaway: SJM historically have been conservative in their yearly revenue forecasts. Maybe not this year.
ZNGA - CEO Don Mattrick said Zynga's audience has stabilized after many quarters of steep DAU/MAU losses. The company is open to using part of Zynga's $1.1 billion cash on new acquisitions/partnerships.
Takeaway: Social gaming have been the only bright spot recently for the slot suppliers. While there are many growth opportunities, It remains a volatile, competitive environment.
HT – acquired the newly constructed Hilton Hotel in Manhattan for $85.2 million from lodging developer Sam Chang's McSam Hotel Group.
Takeaway: Another Manhattan asset for this Greater New York City focused lodging REIT.
IHG.LN – EU Commission clears Katara Hospitality's acquisition of joint control over 5 European hotels located in Amsterdam, Rome, Frankfurt, Cannes, and Madrid from InterContinental Hotels Group. Katara Hospitality is owned Qatari sovereign wealth fund and owns, manages and develops hotels globally
Takeaway: As expected.
HTZ – provided an update on the Company's accounting review and delayed Q1 Form 10-Q filing and disclosed new material weakness conditions over internal controls and financial reporting as of December 31, 2013. Additionally, a thorough review of the company’s internal financial records is being conducted for fiscal years 2011, 2012 and 2013, and their impact, if any, on 2014.
Takeaway: We ponder the following - when were these issues discovered...during the prior CFO's tenure (Elyse Douglas who stepped down on Sept 23, 2013, during the interim period and prior to the appointment of Thomas Kennedy on Dec 9, 2013, or subsequent to Kennedy's arrival. Recall, Kennedy was CFO at Hilton Worldwide until Aug 2013.
NCLH - (S-8 filing) proposing to issue up to $2 million ordinary NCLH shares to be offered pursuant to the company's employee stock purchase plan. The proposed maximum offering price per share would be $33.44, based on the average high and low prices of NCLH shares on May 30.
HOT - EVP Jeffrey M. Cava sold 13,518 shares on Tuesday, June 3rd at an average price of $80.30 and he now owns 34,509 shares.
HST - VP Elizabeth A. Abdoo sold 50,000 shares on Wednesday, June 4th at and average price of $22.17 and she now owns 95,147 shares.
Japanese Gaming – (Reuters) Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe today indicated that developing a casino in the capital was not a priority and that there had not been enough debate on money laundering and other potential problems that could arise should casinos be legalized in Japan.
Takeaway: Tokyo has never really been a leading candidate.
Macau Suspicious Financial Transactions - The Financial Intelligence Office received 1,595 reports of suspicious transactions for 2013 -- 245 cases fewer than 2012, or 13.3 percent less, despite the city experiencing continuous growth in gaming revenues. Similar to previous reports, about 70% of suspect transactions (1,138 cases) were reported by the gaming sector.
Takeaway: A positive trend despite pressures from the US Department of State to increase levels of scrutiny.
Chinese World Cup Betting – China is expected to issue its first online sports betting licenses in time for the World Cup. The first licenses are likely to go to those already operating with the Finance Ministry’s approval under a pilot scheme -- recently the share price of NYSE traded 500.com rose on the news. By comparison, China’s two state sanctioned lotteries, the Welfare Lottery and the Sports Lottery, have seen rapid growth, with a combined wager of RMB309 billion ($49 billion) last year. However, the penetration rate remains low by international standards and estimates put the illegal market at some 10-20 times that of the legal business, suggesting huge growth potential.
Takeaway: Regardless the size, we expect World Cup Soccer which runs from Thursday June 12 through Sunday July 13 to modestly impact Macau GGR.
World Cup Betting – (Hong Kong Standard) Police from Macau, Hong Kong and mainland China are stepping up enforcement action against illegal football betting as the World Cup nears. Police from both Special Administrative Regions and from Guangdong province have launched a month-long crackdown on illegal football gambling. The 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil kicks off on June 12 with the final set for July 13. In June 2010, Macau’s casino revenue declined 20 percent from the previous month, a drop that was attributed by some financial analysts to the World Cup keeping some gamblers away from gaming tables and slot machines
Takeaway: During 2010's World Cup more than 5,000 people were arrested across China, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand while a Chinese gang was busted for running an illegal online better network related to the World Cup that was alleged to have accumulated more than CY100 billion (US$14.8bn).
World Cup Impact on Macau – (Macau Business Daily) Grant Bowie, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MGM China, conceded that the World Cup might affect the industry but stressed that it was not possible to assess the impact it will have on gaming business. “The impact caused by the World Cup, if there is one, is that customers may be allocating more time to watching the World Cup rather than travelling to Macau,” he said.
Takeaway: According to statistics we found, in 2006 Chinese soccer fans bet more than 500 billion Yuan on online gambling during during the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany.
Hedgeye remains negative on consumer spending and believes in more inflation. Following a great call on rising housing prices, the Hedgeye
Macro/Financials team is turning decidedly less positive.
Takeaway: We’ve found housing prices to be the single most significant factor in driving gaming revenues over the past 20 years in virtually all gaming markets across the US.
This note was originally published at 8am on May 23, 2014 for Hedgeye subscribers.
“If I had learned education, I would not have had time to learn anything else.”
If you want to be humbled in this good life, study economic #history. The more I read, the less I realize I know. Given that our economy is centrally planned by people who have no financial incentive to un-learn failed policies and re-learn from the past, that often scares me.
Then I’ll go back to a book, read some more, and find that light of American progress. While it may be dimming, it’s always there. We don’t put two feet on the floor for our families and firms every morning thinking about what government can do for us.
I think about what we can build to change a failed status quo. That’s not easy. I don’t want it to be. My education provides me with the context of its frailty. If I wasn’t paid to read and write to you every day, I wouldn’t be so optimistic that there’s a much better way.
Back to the Global Macro Grind…
New ideas scare a certain type of people; especially people whose failed ideas you are challenging. “So”, let’s do that this morning and challenge 3 of the most widely held academic economic dogmas of America’s 21st century:
1. Money Printing (Dollar Devaluation and Debt Monetization)
2. The American Dream (everyone has to own one, right? #Housing)
3. Yield Chasing (you have to invest in bubbles, or you don’t get paid)
Fair Enough. You can go back to school and write a Ph.D. disproving each of these and I’ll see you in the 22nd century. In the meantime, you’ll have to use A) common sense and B) real-time market data:
1. Fed’s Balance Sheet (Money Printing) update – up +$929 beeelion dollars year-over-year to $4.3 TRILLION and now the NY Fed’s Bill Dudley (formerly of The Goldman Sachs, who helped bail out the banks) is saying $1.7 TRILLION of that (MBS –Mortgage Backed Securities) never has to be sold, unwound, etc. I’m still digging through the Constitution to find who made him god.
2. US #HousingSlowdown (The American Dream) update – post whatever the “weather bounce” was supposed to give us (oh, and rates falling, fast), both supply and demand numbers released for April Housing were not good yesterday.
A) Housing Demand – existing home sales released by the NAR (National Assoc. of Realtors) were down -6.8% year-over-year in April (vs. -7.5% y/y in March) and the Northeast (which was really supposed to have the weather bounce) saw existing home sales down -6.3% in April vs. -4.8% in March.
B) Housing Supply - #drumroll… saw its biggest sequential (month-over-month) ramp, ever. Yes, by our proprietary calculations, ever is a very long time. In percentage terms, existing homes inventory ramped +16.8% in April versus March. I’ll circle back on this colossal failure of the government trying to reflate a bubble that already blew up once at the end of this note.
3. Fixed Income vs. Equity Fund Flows (#YieldChasing) update – since the un-elected and unprecedented ideology that “rates on savings have to be 0% forever” has many unintended consequences, let’s just focus on the most obvious one – forcing investors to chase a yield (a rate of return to live on) greater than the risk free rate (of 0%).
A) Fixed Income Fund flows accelerated to +$3.9B in weekly INFLOW (versus the YTD weekly avg of $2.1B)
B) Equity Fund flows saw their 3rd wk of OUTFLOW in 2014 at -$1.0B (versus the YTD weekly avg INFLOW of +$3.1B)
“So”, in hash tag-less English that an “educated” person can’t obfuscate with big words:
1. Money Printing – the Policy To Inflate (but not calling it that) causes US consumption growth (71% of the economy) to slow
2. Yield Chasing – i.e. buying bonds and anything that looks like a bond (selling growth stocks) takes hold as the economy slows
3. The American Dream – yeah, baby!
Oh, yeah, baby!
Damn those free-market American Capitalists (Vanderbilt, Carnegie, Rockefeller, etc.) of the 19th century and/or anything that looks like them – and go lever yourself up and buy an unproductive asset (a house). Then sit on it, and rotate, until the Fed bubbles its price up.
Janet Yellen is having a bird right now because The American Dream that she and her boy Barney (Frank) drew up just isn’t working. As interest rates fall and the redo of the housing bubble takes hold… newsflash: first time buyers can’t afford to buy a house.
First time buyers of US homes represented 29% of demand in April. That’s down from 30% in March and testing 10 year lows. Rents, meanwhile, are hitting all-time highs in America. I know – that’s not inflationary. It’s not the American progress they planned for either.
Our immediate-term Global Macro Risk Ranges are now:
UST 10yr Yield 2.45-2.61%
WTI Oil 102.45-104.36
Best of luck out there today and enjoy your long weekend,
Keith R. McCullough
Chief Executive Officer
- Toll Free Number:
- Direct Dial Number:
- Conference Code: 843981#
The Hedgeye Macro Team, led by CEO Keith McCullough, will be hosting an expert call featuring Professor Charles Hill TODAY, June 6th at 10:30am EDT. Professor Hill is a diplomat in residence at Yale University where he teaches Grand Strategies.
To gain a better understanding of the key foreign policy risks on the horizon that may have an impact on global markets.
Professor Hill is a career minister in the U.S. Foreign Service, serving in a variety of roles such as Deputy Assistant Secretary and Chief of Staff for the Middle East at the State Department, and executive aid to former U.S. Secretary of State George P. Shultz. He also served as a special advisor to U.N. Secretary General Boutros-Boutros Ghali.
KEY TOPICS WILL INCLUDE:
- What's next for Vladimir Putin in Ukraine?
- How will Putin's strategy evolve beyond Russia? Will there be a broader influence?
- What is the most imminent threat facing the West?
- How real is the nuclear threat from Iran, particularly for Israel?
- The Arab Spring has come and gone, what's next?
- What does the election of Bashar Hafez al-Assad in Syria mean for the West?
- How has U.S. foreign policy evolved under the Obama administration?
ABOUT PROFESSOR CHARLES HILL
Charles Hill is a diplomat in residence and lecturer in International Studies at Yale University. He is a career minister in the U.S. Foreign Service, serving in a variety of roles such as Deputy Assistant Secretary and Chief of Staff for the Middle East at the State Department, and executive aid to former U.S. Secretary of State George P. Shultz. Dr. Hill has been a fellow at the Harvard University East Asia Research Center, a Clark fellow at Cornell University, and is currently a research fellow at the Hoover Institution.
He served as special consultant on policy to the secretary-general of the United Nations from 1992 to 1996. Dr. Hill has collaborated with former U.N. Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali on Egypt's Road to Jerusalem, a memoir of the Middle East peace negotiations, and Unvanquished, about U.S. relations with the U.N. in the post-cold war period. He is also the editor of the three-volume Papers of U.N. Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali, published by Yale University Press.
His book "Grand Strategies: Literature, Statecraft and World Order" is published by Yale University Press. His "Trial of a Thousand Years: Islamism and World Order" is published by the Hoover Press, Stanford University. He received an A.B. degree from Brown University in 1957, a J.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1960, and an M.A. degree in American studies from the University of Pennsylvania in 1961.
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